Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Are private fleets about to hit a wall?

By John D. Schulz, Contributing Editor
March 01, 2011

The most contentious issue
No trucking topic evokes a hotter response than the proposed HOS rules that were formally proposed in a rulemaking set out by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on Dec. 23.

The government has been fiddling with HOS revisions since 1999. In that time, the industry has endured at least two changes, and the federal government has fought at least three lawsuits challenging the propriety of its proposed changes. Throw in three changes in administrations—with Republicans likely to be perceived as softer on the industry than Democrats—and the result is utter confusion when it comes to any type of long-term planning.

The federal government is due to come out with a final rulemaking this summer that could reduce the actual driving time of an operator from 11 to 10 hours. In addition, there are proposed changes requiring more half-hour breaks during a driver’s on-duty time, current 14 hours in a day. That could also reduce productivity. But there are provisions that would allow the standard 14-hour window to be extended to 16 hours twice every eight-day driving period.

Just the thought of reducing driving time by one hour causes trucking executives to break out their pocket calculators to estimate the cost and inefficiencies that would result. That’s because their networks are built typically on a series of regional distribution centers, serviced by TL and LTL moves, typically with “pedal runs” of about 200 miles to 400 miles—easily accomplished in one day’s driving.

If that driving time is reduced, analysts say, it would be nothing short of chaos. Dick Armstrong, chairman of Armstrong Associates, a supply chain management consulting company, predicts a one-hour reduction would be “very disruptive.”

The biggest immediate impact of HOS will likely be the cost and the increasing calls to end the 70-year-old outdated practice of paper log books, often called “comic books” by drivers and industry officials.

Shaw Industries was among the first private fleets to recognize that the government was going to crack down on HOS, forcing violators to use electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) instead of paper logs to track hours. The company was an early adaptor and has used electronic logging for nearly a decade.

“I wish they were mandated for all carriers,” Whisenhant says. “I’m already running legally, but am competing on backhauls with some drivers who are shaving a 30 minutes here and 30 minutes there off their actual driving time. It isn’t fair.”

About the Author

image
John D. Schulz
Contributing Editor

John D. Schulz has been a transportation journalist for more than 20 years, specializing in the trucking industry. He is known to own the fattest Rolodex in the business, and is on a first-name basis with scores of top-level trucking executives who are able to give shippers their latest insights on the industry on a regular basis. This wise Washington owl has performed and produced at some of the highest levels of journalism in his 40-year career, mostly as a Washington newsman.


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

With NFL training camps in full swing, it stands to reason that Congress must be replete with football fans, given how it basically has elected to punt on federal transportation funding yet again, with the Senate yesterday signing off on a ten-month bill to keep federal surface transportation funding intact through May 2015 through a nearly $11 billion stopgap measure.

Carload volumes were up 4.3 percent at 306,988, and intermodal volume for the week ending July 26 was up 3.3 percent at 264,809

Lyon, France-based Norbert Dentressangle, a $5.5 billion global third-party logistics (3PL) services provider focused on global logistics, transport, ocean, and air services, said today it has acquired Des Moines, Iowa-based Jacobson Companies, a value-added warehousing (VAW) company, for $750 million from private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners.

Download the newly released research report, "Transportation Management Systems" conducted by Peerless Research Group (PRG) on behalf of Supply Chain Management Review and Logistics Management magazines. Learn what logistic experts are saying about their current supply chain technology infrastructures, how they tackle the transportation component, and revealed the gaps that still need to be filled in order to attain end to-end visibility of a streamlined supply chain.

From cost center to growth center. Get insightful opinions on changes in the marketplace from this independent survey of warehouse personnel. Motorola Solutions examined the current warehousing marketplace in our 2013 Warehouse Vision Report, conducted April-May of 2013.

Article Topics

· Trucking · March 2011 · Transportation · HOS · CSA 2010 · All topics

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA